Updated: 08/09/2023

Chapter 19- Social Policy and Employment

Content of the Chapter

Chapter 19- Social Policy and Employment aims at increasing employment, improving working and living conditions, establishing social protection mechanisms at appropriate levels, promoting dialogue with social partners, developing human resources to ensure sustainable employment, combating poverty and social exclusion and providing equal opportunity for men and women.

This chapter includes policy areas such as labour law, occupational health and safety, equality between women and men, anti-discrimination, social dialogue, employment, social inclusion and protection.

Following the introduction of social policy provisions in the Rome Treaty, the area of social policy has grown its importance with the adoption of specific other provisions in the subsequent treaties. Although social policies are within the competence of Member States, the EU acquis in the social field includes minimum standards in areas such as labour law, health and safety at work, social dialogue, equal treatment of women and men and anti-discrimination. Candidate countries are required to adopt the EU acquis in this chapter, which is mostly in the form of directives. Member states are also responsible for transposing directives into their national legislation within the prescribed deadline. Furthermore, in this policy field, the EU uses OMC (Open Method of Coordination), a policy making mechanism aimed at formulating policies and strategies, disseminating best practices and achieving convergence toward EU goals. Member states are expected to shape their national employment, social protection and social inclusion policies according to these common goals, and the policy implementation process is monitored as part of the European Semester

Within this framework, the main strategic document of the EU is European Pillar of Social Rights. The Pillar which was declared in 2017 at the Gothenburg Summit is put into effect through an action plan that was adopted on 4 March 2021. The European Pillar of Social Rights sets out 20 key principles and rights to support fair and well-functioning labour markets:

1. Education, training and life-long learning

2. Gender equality

3. Equal opportunities

4. Active support to employment

5. Secure and adaptable employment

6. Wages

7. Information about employment conditions and protection in case of dismissals

8. Social dialogue and involvement of workers

9. Work-life balance

10. Healthy, safe and well-adapted work environment and data protection

11. Childcare and support to children

12. Social protection

13. Unemployment benefits

14. Minimum income

15. Old age income and pensions

16. Health care

17. Inclusion of people with disabilities

18. Long-term care

19. Housing and assistance for the homeless

20. Access to essential services

The majority of these principles are regulated by the EU acquis and the rest are concrete objectives addressing the effects of future social, economic and technological developments. The Action Plan also proposes headline targets for the EU to reach by 2030. These are ensuring at least 78% of the population aged 20 to 64 are in employment, ensuring at least 60% of all adults participating in training every year, reducing the number of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion by 15 million.

Implementation of the Pillar is a joint responsibility of the EU institutions, national, regional and local administrations, social partners and the civil society.  Multi-Annual Financial Framework 2021-2027, NextGenerationEU and ESF+ will be used for supporting reforms and investments.

Other framework strategy documents in this policy area are;

EU Gender Equality Strategy (2020-2025)

Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2021-2030)

Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work (2021-2027)

Current Stage of the Negotiations on the Chapter

In the period of German Presidency of the European Union Council (19 January 2007), two opening benchmarks were determined to open the negotiations in this chapter.

The first benchmark is about ensuring full trade union rights in line with EU standards and relevant ILO conventions in particular as regards the right to organize, the right to strike and the right to bargain collectively both in public and private sectors.

Second benchmark is the submission of an action plan for the gradual implementation and enforcement of the relevant acquis for the benefit of the entire workforce.

Regarding the first opening benchmark on trade union rights, a number of amendments were made in the Constitution and two new laws were enacted to reflect the Constitutional amendments regarding union rights to the relevant legislation. The Law on Trade Unions and Collective Labour Agreements numbered 6356 entered into force upon its publication in the Official Gazette No. 28460 of 07 November 2012. The Law amending the Public Servants’ Trade Unions Act entered into force upon its publication in the Official Gazette No.28261 of 11 April 2012.

Concerning the second opening benchmark, the action plan was prepared and sent to the European Commission.

Many important legal steps have been taken for the approximation of national laws to the EU acquis. Some of these are as follows:  Labour Law which was prepared by taking into consideration considerable part of the EU Directives, Law on Occupational Health and Safety which was adopted to transpose the EU Framework Directive on Occupational Health and Safety and Law on Human Rights and Equality Institution of Türkiye.

In the Country Reports prepared by the European Commission, it is stated that Türkiye has some level of preparation in the area of social policy and employment. However, Türkiye should in particular remove obstacles limiting the enjoyment of trade union rights and use social dialogue mechanisms effectively; improve the implementation of legislation pertaining to workers’ rights, in fields related to labour law and health and safety at work; promote employment of women by stepping up appropriate work-life balance policies and care services, and assess the impact of active labour market programmes and employment incentives.

Relevant Subcommittee Meetings

Sub-Committee No. 7 Regional Development, Employment and Social Policy

Screening Process

Presentations at Explanatory Screening Meeting (8-10 February 2006) 
Presentations at Bilateral Screening Meeting (20-22 March 2006)

The Answers Given to European Commission at Screening Meetings (PDF Format – 731 KB)

Screening Report (PDF Format-117 KB)

Useful Links

For more information regarding EU Employment and Social Policy: 



International Labour Organisation (ILO)


ILO Conventions ratified by Türkiye


European Economic and Social Committee


Ministry of Labour and Social Security


Ministry of Family and Social Services


Human Resources Development Operating Structure 


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